05/20/2016 10:32 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – May 20, 2016 – Chicago State freshman Jamary McKinney is poised to add Oil City Stadium to the long list of baseball fields he’s played on.
The list also includes three Major League Baseball parks: Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Target Field in Minnesota and U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
The hard-throwing right-handed pitcher / first baseman graduated from Simeon High School and was a member of the Chicago White Sox Amateur City Elite program. He enjoyed every minute of participating in the ACE program.
“It was one of the best decisions I made,” McKinney said. “Being on that team gave me so many opportunities people didn’t have. It gave me opportunities to go showcase myself. I got a chance to get work in the offseason and during the season. I was around so many coaches who know what they’re doing and players I could learn from. There was so much benefit.”
As a freshman for the Cougars, McKinney appeared in five games at first base (2-for-7) and 12 games on the mound. He chose Chicago State because of a full-ride scholarship offer and the chance to remain a two-way player.
“So far, it hasn’t been that easy,” he said. “It started off kind of tough; I really like it though. We play some nice competition.”
Chicago State has one of the more geographically strange conference affiliations in collegiate athletics, participating in the Western Athletic Conference. Playing in a conference with Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, North Dakota, Sacramento State, Seattle, CSU Bakersfield, Rio Grande Valley and Utah Valley creates a daunting travel schedule for the Cougars.
“It’s nice to travel; it’s nice with the weather and the scouts over there,” McKinney said. “It’s hard, traveling to the west coast every week. We had times where we came back Monday morning and had to go right to class. It’s tough; but that’s what you have to deal with being a student-athlete.”
McKinney is accustomed to winning, which he did with regularity during his prep tenure. He captured three Chicago Public Schools championship rings at Simeon. He’ll never forget playing in the championship game at U.S. Cellular Field.
“It’s really intense because all of Chicago comes up,” McKinney said. “You get to play on a major league field and the whole city is there to see you. It was breathtaking.”
McKinney looks back at his high school days fondly.
“Playing at Simeon was the best time I’ve ever had playing baseball,” he said. “I played with so many good players. Playing Chicago Public Schools ball is so competitive. People think it’s not that much competition, but it has the most.”
McKinney plans to use the summer to continue the transition to the college level and prepare for an improved sophomore season.
“My goal for the summer is definitely getting strong and getting in better shape,” McKinney said. “I work on the things I need to work on every pitch. I want to throw more strikes and learn the game more.”
Extra Tidbits: Cubs fan even though he lives on the south side… Hobbies include working out, going to the beach and traveling… Business administration management major.